By Nonoy E. Lacson
Zamboanga City – The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) announced that the regional government was interested in supplying multi-national company Nestlé’s Protomalt processing plant with cassava and cassava flour for its health food drink.
“We have discussed with the ARMM economic cluster agencies that the ARMM has a great economic opportunity with the establishment of the Nestlé protomalt plant, whose main ingredient is cassava, because we are the country’s biggest producer of cassava,” said lawyer, Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI.
Nestlé recently announced that construction of a malt plant in Lipa, Batangas, which began in December 2015 and is expected to be completed in October 2017.
Nestlé had reportedly sought the help of the Department of Agriculture to source and increase supply of cassava for its plant, which is expected to produce its Milo chocolate malt drink.
The main ingredients for Milo are barley and cassava.
In 2016, ARMM recorded the highest production of cassava in the country at 423,650 metric tons (MT) and contributed 55.6 percent to total cassava output.
“In line with the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur after the Marawi Siege and considering that cassava in the ARMM is mainly produced in Lanao del Sur, the government can support our cassava farmers to expand their production and encourage new planters by building the logistics supply chain to meet the huge demand from Nesté and other end buyers,” added Mastura.
It was reported that the top producer of cassava in ARMM is Malabang, Lanao del Sur because it is home to Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation which leads the country in cassava plantation and cassava flour milling.